I have only recently been introduced to Patrick Bateman. Never having seen the film, I downloaded American Psycho, the novel, to my Kindle and didn’t put it down until I’d finished.
To the outside world, Bateman has it all. He is young, handsome, well educated and successful. He shows an obsessive attention to detail and shows an OCD level of repetition in his morning routine, detailing brand names, exact products used and the reason for their use. He takes great pleasure in noticing every tiny detail of his friends and acquaintances outfits yet he often cannot tell the difference between the actual people, often confusing his friends names. Bateman defines himself only on the places he is seen, the music he listens to and the clothes he wears.
He is completely emotionless and cold about the murders he commits. On one page he can speak about his favourite music, then on the next he talks about feeding a rodent into a womens vaginal cavity so it would gnaw it’s way out. He is indiscriminate with his victims. Killing the homeless, his friends, a child and raping and murdering countless women.
Bateman is an unreliable narrator as he frequently experiences bouts of depersonalization and pychosis. At the end of the novel we are left in doubt of the reality of the events he describes throughout the story as his lawyer claims to have had dinner with a man Patrick says he earlier killed. Though he narrates his murders in exact detail, we are left with the impression that these acts of violence are in all probability, imaginary.
I have picked him as my favourite character of all time as I find him fascinatingly complex. He has many disturbances hidden behind the respectable facade he maintains. His idiosyncrasies such as his love of routine indicate a need for control which becomes more evident when he kills. His opinions of people can change in an instant if they commit even the most minor social faux pas and his delusions escalate as the novel progresses.
I found that Bateman left me with chills and the acts described in the novel are horrifying. Even though I enjoyed the book very much I will not be reading it again. It disturbed me far too much. But then again, that is why I like Patrick. No character has affected me as much and left me thinking about it for days. I would recommend American Psycho to anyone but make sure you have a strong stomach!